As mentioned earlier starting this century Balinese artists came
under more direct influence of Western artists with the arrival
of European artists. The most famous of these were German, Walter
Spies and Dutchman, Rudolf Bonnet. These two painters taught the
Balinese painters new, more realistic and expressionistic art -
scenes from every day life, landscapes and the like - which now
dominates the paintings produced on Bali. Later on and together
with local artist Gede Agung Sukawati the Pitamaha Painters Association
was established. Styles which sprang from this effort are briefly
described below. When looking to buy keep in mind that prices vary
widely depending on the size and the amount and clarity of detail.
These large paintings are easily identified because every square
inch of the canvas is filled with tiny figures going about life's
daily activities (some quite graphic if you look hard enough). Usually
bright colored, these paintings seem to be getting funnier and funnier
(or sarcastic depending on your view of video camera tourists being
painted into village life) as the years go by.
Keliki paintings are generally the very small paintings you see
hanging on pillars and odd spaces in different shops. These too
are crammed with little images but look closely though and you will
see that the subject matter is very different - usually the subject
is the supernatural with fantastically detailed demons.
These are the bird, flower and butterfly paintings you see all over.
The amount of detail and correct proportion determine the price
but works of the best (i.e. I Made Supartha commands up to US$ 5,000
for a good sized painting).
With highly stylized human features -strong lines, long necks, proud
posture, and the like identify these paintings to have been influenced
by Walter Spies. The paintings are usually large and colorful without
being bright. Such artists as Dewa Putu Bedil are always in demand
and you may well have to commission the best and wait quite some
time before you own one of this style.
Nowadays there are many Balinese and Indonesian artists who practice
what can best be described as Modern Art. Some like Made Winata,
Krijono, and Joko amongst others have achieved a great deal of commercial
success combining their Indonesian perspective with abstract figures
and new colors.